It took three years for the Hollywood Foreign Press to grow tired of Ricky Gervais’ edgy (petty) Golden Globes hosting routine, which largely focused on offending as many people as he could in one evening, but his successors were well worth the wait.

The ingenious decision to make Amy Poehler and Tina Fey the hosts of the 2013 ceremony paid off, with the two best friends delivering a hilarious opening monologue that explained Meryl Streep’s absence – “she has the flu…and I hear she’s amazing in it” – and supported Kathryn Bigelow, director of the controversial Zero Dark Thirty, because “when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron.”

Although their presence was relatively minimal, there were understated moments of hilarity dotted throughout the ceremony, which included Poehler sitting on George Clooney’s lap and Fey crashing the Best Actor in a Mini Series nominations as a “professional volleyball player battling restless leg syndrome.”

The evening did not provide any real shock winners; potentially due to the fact that this awards season boasts an unusual variety of films all in equal contention for the top prizes. However, Argo was the slightly unexpected Best Drama winner, with its director, Ben Affleck scooping the Best Director gong from underneath Steven Spielberg’s nose. But the inevitable moment of drama came during Jodie Foster’s brave but somewhat baffling “coming out” speech, as she accepted the lifetime achievement award. Whilst Foster has been lambasted for never actually uttering the words, her rhetoric retained a rich sincerity that nonetheless should be admired.

The stand-out speeches belonged to Jennifer Lawrence, who thanked producer Harvey Weinstein for killing whoever he had to kill to get her up there; an eloquent Anne Hathaway; and Adele, who won for Best Original Song – and in characteristic fashion declared that she had spent the night “pissing herself laughing.”

The thoroughly enjoyable ceremony allowed Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to prove there can be a happy medium between a sycophantic and mean-spirited awards show and that unpredictable and comfortable humour are not mutually exclusive. Though in terms of the Globes predicting the outcome of the Oscar race, next month’s ceremony still remains a relative mystery.

Winner’s list

Best Picture, Drama
Argo

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy
Les Misérables

Actor, Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Actress, Drama
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Director
Ben Affleck, Argo

Actor, Musical or Comedy
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables

Actress, Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

Foreign Language Picture
Amour